Country #57 - Norway

The Friend

I had a really early flight this morning from Oslo to Bergen. It was so early that the girl who checked me in at Scandic St. Olavs plass was genuinely surprised to see me again so soon after checking in. I had a much needed few hours sleep and wish I would have had more time to spend in my awesome room! I was also sad to spend so little time in Oslo but I know I’ll be back.

My early flight was the only flight that I could take to have enough time to spend the day in Bergen so it was worth it! Luckily my flight was domestic (which doesn’t happen too often for me) so I didn’t have to be two hours early, only one. I took the airport train back to the airport and boarded my plane with no problems. The flight was under an hour and I ended up arriving in Bergen around 8:00am. I loved the “Bergen?” arrival sign when you first walk out of the airport!

I took the Flybuss shuttle from the airport directly to the bus station in town. When I got there it was freezing so I unpacked some extra layers before finding the luggage lockers in the adjoining train station. I then made my way to Festplassen where I was meeting my friend, Mia! I met Mia in La Paz, Bolivia at the airport and we ended up spending the day exploring La Paz together. I was very excited to see her again and to see Bergen from a local’s perspective! It was also great seeing her and catching up throughout the day.

Our first stop was to take the funicular up Mount Fløyen as it actually wasn’t raining yet (a rarity in Bergen). The ride up was cool as you could see out over the whole city but the best view was definitely once you reached the top and could see out over everything. You could see the city as well as the seven mountains surrounding it. Apparently, it’s a thing once a year to climb all seven mountains in a day, which Mia has done - I couldn’t believe it! They aren’t huge mountains but it still seemed really difficult to do. After taking pictures over the lookout and learning more about the layout of the city we decided to walk back down the mountain.

This was a great idea in theory until, of course, it started to downpour. And it was a fun driving rain too, so much so that my hood wouldn’t even stay on my head! It died down after a few minutes but it was definitely intense for a bit. On the walk we also passed where there are supposedly goats kept on top of the mountain (I was sad they weren’t around), some adorable houses, and trees that had been knitted their own sweaters (it was adorably Norwegian).

Once we made it to the bottom we then walked to the Bryggen area which is probably the most well known spot in the city. The buildings are really cool (and quite colorful) and are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We walked not only in front of them but in between them as well - it was really cool to walk up and around them, especially knowing how old they are (some date to the 16th century).

We then walked around the water to the fish market and then made our way to walk more around the buildings in the center of town. The rain definitely picked back up again and it was very wet and cold outside. We began a search for waffles as Mia wanted me to try some traditional Norwegian waffles but we were consistently thwarted in our search. We tried a few small cafes as well as the mall. In the grocery store area of the mall I loaded up on chocolate and goat cheese to take back home. Norwegian goat cheese is a favorite of my grandfather’s (he is from Norway but I’m not Norwegian as he technically isn’t my biological grandfather) and it’s a favorite of my brother’s as well.

We then walked more around the area, saw the Blue Stone (a popular meeting point), and then grabbed some coffee and hot chocolate in a cute travel oriented shop! The hot chocolate was much needed and very tasty. We decided from there to try one of the new Mexican restaurants in town as we had been discussing queso in depth (I had to explain it, we decided that a good definition is that it’s basically spicy fondue with chips). We like to talk a lot about the differences between the US and Norway and lack of Mexican food was unsurprisingly a big one. The restaurant was unfortunately closed, however, and it was still literally pouring down rain so we made our way to the most convenient restaurant, TGI Fridays! It felt pretty funny to be eating at a Fridays in Norway but hey, it worked!

After a good meal and being able to warm up a bit, it was time to walk to the bus station to head back to the airport. I ended up being able to see many of the main highlights of the city but it still was not near enough time to see it all! I would love to come back and see more of the city and the surrounding area and visit Mia again in the future, which is definitely a possibility as Norwegian Airlines has super cheap flights from New York direct to Bergen. We said our goodbyes at the bus station after a great day. I cannot thank Mia enough for showing me around and telling me all about Bergen. I learned a lot and loved having a friend to spend the day with!

The trip back to the airport on the Flybussen shuttle was just as simple and I went through immigration and to my gate with ease. I was surprised that the plane was so small - it was the size of most domestic planes - but it was fine with me as the flight was cheap and I ended up having a whole row to myself! I flew directly from Bergen to Newburgh, NY, which is about thirty minutes from where my Aunt Dana lives. She picked me up and we headed straight to my cousin Robert’s sprint football game at West Point where he is a freshman! It was absolutely perfect timing, and I loved getting to spend time with Aunt Dana during the game and to talk with Robert for the first time in months after the game (which they won by like 50 points!).

I stayed with Aunt Dana that night and took the train into NYC the next day where I was able to see my friends Natalie and Jennifer before heading back to Dallas. It was a great ending to an awesome trip! I’m looking forward to having about a week in Dallas before I head out again - my next stop is Iceland!

57 countries down, 139 to go.

To learn more about Scandic St. Olavs plass click here.